An Interview With Jacked Fashion

When you think of Miami Alaska is usually not the first thing to come to mind. The same goes for when you think of Alaska Miami would probably not be the first thing to come to mind. Yet Alaska Mangialetto, designer and stylist behind the up and coming brand Jacked Fashion and a Miami native is one of the most unique and inspiring people I have ever come across in my time living here in South Florida. I've been an avid admirer of her outrageous and whimsical personal style for quite some time now but it wasn't until I got the chance to personally work with her this summer for our BOY London shoot that I realized how brilliant and intriguing her mind is as well although I really shouldn't have been surprised, a girl with purple hair can honestly do no wrong.  A month or so ago she interviewed me for a feature on her blog and now I have finally gotten the time to sit down and interview her for mine. So without further adieu take a moment out of your day to find out why Alaska and Jacked Fashion are the most grounded, motivated and inspiring people to be coming out of Miami.

You were born and raised in Miami yet your style and point of view is something that is very unique to this city. How much influence would say has Miami had on your style?

Yes! Born and raised! Growing up here has moved me to travel and look beyond what was presented to me, which I’m very grateful for. It has pushed me to process outside of the box. I’ve always felt somewhat misplaced here which led me on a path of inward discovery. Miami is like that frustrating teacher you have growing up. Forcing you to actually do the homework and make moves for yourself, to study the bigger picture and broaden your ways of thinking. I’ve definitely been challenged by this city which has led to inspiration and growth.

Miami has a very gaudy and ‘in your face’ attitude about it which I’ve always found amusing. I feel like that, in its own way, translates into my fashion choices. If anything the old florida retirement homes would be more suitable in relation to my clothing, flamingos and margaritas included.

Photo by Omare Haynes, Designs by Jacked Fashion

Why Jacked Fashion?

It came to me one night a couple of years ago. I was observing the vast things placed around my room and on my walls. I realized what a smorgasbord of people, places and ideas that influence me on a daily basis. The idea behind the name is that we all 'jack' (absorb) from our vivid and surreal surroundings which influences how we carry out our lives and more importantly our creative endeavors. Whether it is a musician you adore, a time period in history, politics, culture or even someone you've dated, these things impact behavior, views, and well fashion. We're all connected in some way or another. Fashion trends are repeated and recycled. Yes, the ancient Egyptian princess did wear the ankh and silk dress before you did. I'm fascinated by the idea of having an external entity that uses our beings as vessels for art. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed in this idea that their daimon or genius was the source of human creativity which was separate from the ego. Jacked Fashion is my sense of humor snapping back at the ego and the era. Those who take themselves too seriously for the wrong reasons. Politics and money can destroy the creative essence that should be foremost. More people should feel free to create and communicate artistically. Judgement and entitlement tend to trump freedom of innocence and freedom of expression. On a more random note, I was a rather 'jacked' little girl! Lol So that came into play with the name. 

At what moment did you realize you wanted to work in the fashion industry?

At some point while I was still working in retail as a teenager. Being a ‘retail slave’ as I used to call it. I really enjoyed the communication made possible through fashion. Retail got very monotonous and frustrating once I realized that I had my own ideas that I wanted to pursue outside of that constricted corporate world.

What do you think the difference is between fashion and style?

I think that they go hand and hand. They’re kind of like your left and right hands actually. One needs the other, yet sometimes it doesn’t. I look at fashion as the structure and the content, formidable and thought out (much like the right hand lets say). I look at style as something expressed with the assistance of your soul and intuition. The essence of fashion as an art form. More undefinable and abstract (let’s say like the left hand). Together they can make magic happen. :}

Photo by MarinaFINI

Even though you are still a young and budding brand you have already dealt with copy right issues and a lot of mixed feelings in the industry. How have you dealt with those issues without burning any bridges?

It has definitely been a crazy adventure so far! All I can do is follow my heart and intuition. I’ve learned the importance of standing up for yourself, speaking your mind, and respecting yourself. When you have a vision you must trust in it and go full speed ahead!
How important do you think it is for a designer to embody and dress the part of their brand?
I think it is very important! What better way to get your message across!

Jacked Fashion 'Don't Date An Artist' T-shirt

From a designers point of view what is your opinion on the fast track speed of trends today and how that is affecting not only us as a consumer culture but the designers trying to make a DNA for their brands while still being commercially marketable? 

Its a complex thing! One of the hardest parts of establishing a brand is the beginning challenge of creating your own DNA. Being on a tight budget and constricted audience is a challenge. Other people mumbling in your ear can be challenging. I think that's where it comes down to an innate ability to feel what's right for you and your line. As a designer you have a lot of choices. If you want to be more mainstream and commercial that's a choice. If you want to click your glittery red heals and take the yellow brick road that's a different story. I want to reach a broad audience and be relatable yet still have a truly unique voice. I'd like to Introduce more people to the yellow brick road way of life.

I think fast trends are just coherent with the times. Everything is fast access these days. You don't have to leave your bed to know what's going on across the country or in Milan or Paris. Especially with all of the specialized blogs and social media platforms. Because of this, brands can market themselves more fiscally. Consumers can absorb and buy more conveniently, try things out that may previously been out of their periphery or comfort zone. It's a challenge and a blessing in disguise. I think the consumer wins on this one for the most part. 

The creator faces a challenge to make a mark that is stronger and will last in a sea of others. It's something I believe that comes from within. That is what will define the brand essentially. Trends and fads are helpful but they are not the backbone of the creative being. There must be something greater within the artist that will transcend trends and give the brand longevity. 

I think the concept of a trend is being used as a progressive art form in itself. It's self deprecating. Knowledge is power so the more mind bending and question inducing the media the better. I believe in knowledge through fashion; creating and teaching through pushing the limit.

Photo by Omare Haynes

Is fashion an art? Why or why not?

Most definitely. Fashion is walking art! I have so much respect and admiration for people in the industry like Bill Cunningham. He exposes walking art through his street fashion photography. The awareness that it is not just something on a mannequin or a runway but an alive and breathing creative daily expression of self is truly magnificent.

What 3 things inspire you the most? 

Humanity, the circle/patterns of life, and poetry.

If today were your last day on Earth what would you wear?


What would you choose if you could be anyone, anywhere at any time?

A Heineken on the moon with Patti Smith right now.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you can talk about?

Yes! I have a very special project in the works for Miami’s Art Basel! A collaboration with a couple of west coast artists and a personal mini installation/fashion movement! Look for Jacked Fashion on the streets in December! <3